Being diagnosed with diabetes can mean a lot of changes for older adults, especially those who have enjoyed sucking on hard candies or following dinner with dessert since childhood. However, one of those changes doesn't have to be giving up all the sweets you enjoy. You can continue eating the tasty treats you love in moderation by using simple substitutions.
The trouble with many sweets is that theyre heavy in sugars that can spike your blood glucose levels if eaten in significant quantities. Sweets also contain what nutritionists refer to as empty calories, meaning they take up some of your daily calorie requirement without much nutritional benefit. Most of your meals should contain a healthy balance of non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, green beans), protein (chicken, fish, beans, quinoa), and starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, corn).
Allowing yourself the occasional treat, however, will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you from feeling deprived. Its best to eat your dessert as part of a healthy meal instead of by itself. Just cut back on other starches in the same meal.
Here are two key considerations when you're incorporating desserts into your diet:
- Small Portions: Preparing mini-desserts can be a way to enjoy sweets without letting yourself over-indulge. Stock your kitchen with containers that encourage small potions: mini-muffin tins, tiny tart pans, and small ramekins. You can make essentially any regular dessert, including brownies, cheesecake, tarts, muffins, pudding, and cupcakes, in these small portions. You can also use shot glasses to prepare miniature parfaits or ice cream sundaes.
- Substitutions: When you're preparing your favorite recipes, consider what substitutions you can use to make a recipe more healthful. Try exchanging a portion of the sugar in your recipe with an artificial baking sweetener, swap white flour for whole wheat flour, and use applesauce instead of oil. While these substitutions can take some experimenting to get right, its worth a healthier end result. There are also many cookbooks and online recipe sites that have light and low-sugar recipes for you to try.
Remember, living with diabetes means creating a healthy lifestyle you can sustain in the long term. That means finding ways to enjoy lifes celebrations birthdays, holidays, and special occasions while maintaining your diet plan. Indulging in a small treat on these days is OK if it helps you stay on track the rest of the time.
Another factor in staying healthy with diabetes is successful medication management. Download the free guide Tips for Better Medication Management to uncover helpful information about medication safety.